Women throughout Africa are at greater risk of HIV infection. And yet, thousands are surviving HIV/AIDS thanks to noble efforts and investments only to die of another preventable disease with communicable origins, cervical cancer. The Lance Armstrong Foundation believes strongly that one way to address the global cancer burden is to expand health services to treat the those with both acute and chronic conditions, so as to comprehensively address multiple diseases.
On a recent trip to Zambia, Former US President George W Bush underscored the importance of collaborative work to address both the cervical cancer and HIV/AIDS epidemics in Africa. There is so much more we can do for women and others at risk for cancer in the developing world with innovative strategies. Learn more about what our friends Jhpiego and the “single visit screen-and-treat” approach.
Cervical cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related death for women in developing countries. Each year, 270,000 women die needlessly from a disease that is almost entirely preventable. Approximately 80% of these deaths occur in developing countries, where less than 1% of women have been screened for the disease. Although Pap tests are the routine screening method in developed countries, these tests require cytotechnicians, physicians, laboratories and reliable infrastructure, which are not readily available in most vulnerable parts of the world. To provide some context on the inequality in access to effective and affordable treatments, the survival rate for cervical cancer in sub-Saharan Africa is 20%, compared to 80% in the U.S. Even more astonishing is that because of our advances in treatment for HIV/AIDS, women in sub-Saharan Africa – the epicenter of the pandemic –women are living with HIV, but are dying from cervical cancer because of the lack of screenings.
The work of Jhpiego as that of other Lance Armstrong Foundation collaborators in the African Region demonstrates what impact can be made on the cervical cancer burden with minimal resources and by leveraging existing healthcare capacities. Together, we can make a difference for women and others at risk for cancer worldwide.
Contributors include Jhpiego’s Kate Austin and The Lance Armstrong Foundation’s Director of Health Policy, Loyce Pace-Bass.